Babies are born to learn. Just talking and reading together each day lays the foundation for them to become readers and writers! Here are some fun and simple ways to enjoy talking, reading, and writing together as you go about your daily activities:

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Tips for Parents of Children Ages 0-2

Babies are born to learn. Just talking and reading togehter each day lays the foundation for them to become readers and writers! Here are some fun and simple ways to enjoy talking, reading, and writing together as you go about your daily acitivities.

Make every day a talking day.

Make every day a reading day.

Make every day a writing day.

Enjoy conversations. Your child’s smiles, coos, and squeals are her way of talking with you! Make eye contact as you talk, make faces, and imitate her sounds.Read aloud together every day. It’s never too early! Babies may want to play with the pages while toddlers want you to read the same story over and over again. This encourages a love for books and reading. Whenever you read, take time to point and name the pictures.Let them explore with their hands. Give babies many opportunities to practice grabbing and holding toys or finger foods with their hands and fingers.
Talk and sing together often. Talk out loud about everything you do and see as you go about your day. You could also sing a song like “Head, shoulders, knees, and toes” while getting dressed or taking a bath.Read words all around you. Words are everywhere – on street signs, storefronts, cereal boxes, and magazines – so take time to point them out.Encourage them to scribble freely. Over time, you can give your child a chunky crayon. He’ll be delighted to see that he can use it to scribble on paper! After he’s done with his drawing, encourage him to tell you about his picture.

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  • Your touch and voice help your baby learn. Listen to the fun sounds your baby makes and repeat them. When they coo, coo back. Hold their hand gently and when they smile, smile back. Your loving touch combined with this back-and-forth “baby language” are the first steps in talking.
  • Everywhere you go, talk about what you see and what your baby is looking at: “Wow, I see the four dogs, too!”“I love that red truck you’re playing with. It goes beep beep!”
  • Play“ Peek-a-boo” while getting your baby dressed. Ask,“ Where’s (baby’s name)?” when you pull a shirt over your baby’s head. Then say, “There you are!”
  • As you feed your baby, use words to describe what foods taste, feel, and look like. “This yogurt is smooth.”“That yellow banana is sweet!”
  • Looking into your baby’s eyes, holding your baby’s hand, and talking to your baby in a high voice are all ways that you can help your child grow up to be a confident, loving adult.

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A Review for Teachers and Other Early Education Program Providers

Learning more than one language is an asset to individuals, families, and our entire society. Early childhood teachers can share the benefits of bilingualism with families and their communities, find ways to support children’s home languages, and encourage families to keep their language strong. Developing the child’s home language provides the foundation for reading and writing, preparing children to be biliterate. Researchers have found many benefits to being bilingual and biliterate. Below are just a few!


School readiness and success for children who are dual or multi language learners is tied directly to mastery of their home language. Bilingual and multilingual children benefit academically from knowing more than one language in many ways. Because they are able to switch between languages, they develop more flexible approaches to thinking through problems. The ability to read and think in two (or more) different languages promotes hirer levels of abstract though, which is important in learning.

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Here are some things you can do everyday to help your child learn your family’s language and become successful in school!


The easiest, most important step is to use your home

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Talking with babies and toddlers is a brain building activity! Every time you talk to a baby and have a high-quality back-and-forth interaction, new connections in that baby’s brain are made. The more you engage with babies and toddlers in this way, the more they learn to understand and use new words and concepts. Below are some tips for talking with babies and toddlers and engaging in high-quality back-and-forth interactions.

Move to the child’s level and make eye contact.

Mirror the child’s tone.

For example, if the child is smiling and happy, use a happy, upbeat tone of voice.

Use Parent-ese!

Parent-ese is a type of adult speech where an adult talks to a child in an exaggerated, animated, and repetitive way. Babies and toddlers get excited when they are spoken to in fun and interesting ways. Parent-ese captures babies’ attention and can help them learn.


Comment about everything in the baby’s environment, such as their actions and other people’s actions, objects, toys, foods, activities, and daily events. Narrate your routines!


Babies and toddlers are learning to match words with different things in their world. Labeling at every opportunity helps babies and toddlers learn new words and understand their meaning. Point and look at objects when describing them for babies/toddlers. Make sure the baby/toddler looks at who or what you are pointing to.

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Teachers and families play a critical role in developing language-rich learning environments. Try these strategies to engage all children in rich conversations in English or in their home language.

Get down on the child’s level.

Tune in and listen to what the child says. If the child does not speak yet, tune into what they are doing or pointing to and use these moments to talk with them. Take turns talking. If the child doesn’t have language yet, that may mean you are talking and the child is communicating in nonverbal ways, such as through gestures, looks, smiles, babbles, and word approximations (children’s attempts at words).

Talk about what the child is doing, what the child is looking at, or what the child is interested in.

Ask questions that relate to the child’s experiences or interests.

Add words or questions to what the child says or does and model new language.

Give the child enough time to respond. For children who do not have language yet, this may be a nonverbal response, like a gesture or a look.

Stay tuned in to the child’s facial and body expressions to make sure they are engaged

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